Thursday, January 31, 2013

all these things that i've done

did you know that kids are more likely to own a cellphone than a book? and i'm not just talking about teenagers, here. i'm talking about every child from the age of seven to seventeen. now, if this meant that libraries were being frequented more than bookstores, well then, i'd be okay with that. but most libraries i've been to say that they have some days where no one comes in. not one single person. and maybe i just live in an area where there are too many other things to do and people are too busy working for the government to go to a library or take their kids to one, but i really don't think this is only limited to my area. and i find this statistic both sad and really, really scary.

i want to blog more, but aside from feeling like i have no time to do anything lately, i also feel like i have nothing to say. i'm actually being pretty productive with my days. well, sort of. i'm getting things that i want to do done, and they may seem like a waste of time to other people, but i am not other people so it counts as being productive. and there are only so many times i can say that i'm editing and potterying and schooling and knitting before i want to punch myself in the face, so there's that.

i need to develop some subplots for my novel, and though i have two in mind, neither of them seem particularly exciting to me so i'm kind of dragging my feet with it. (probably because they're kind of hinted at and ignored already and my brain keeps telling me that if they weren't worth developing then, they aren't worth developing now.) i also desperately need a title for it, but can't think of anything good. titles are hard. once i have all the main plot points in, i can go back and edit line by line which i am looking forward to because there are a lot of things that need to be fixed on a sentence level. i was literally laughing at loud at some of the things i wrote when i was doing the initial read. so, so bad, you guys. but then there were some scenes that i read through and was just like, "wow okay i like this. this is good," and if i can get the rest of the scenes to incite that same reaction then i think this may actually go somewhere. maybe. at least i hope so.

i have two homework assignments due friday that i am supposed to be doing right now. actually, i was supposed to start them at nine and finish them at ten. which was fourteen minutes ago. so maybe i'm not as productive as i'm letting myself believe.

*All These Things That I've Done - The Killers

Thursday, January 24, 2013

you think you're better but we're gonna shut you up 'cause nobody likes you

yesterday i had my first class from my last real semester of classes. with it being a class on mac forensics and with me being 97% windows, it's probably going to end up being a crazy amount of work (and super helpful, but i'll save the good things about it for when it's done and i'm looking back). 

there's this one guy in the class who has been working in the field forever and is in love with all things mac and does not miss a moment to show how much he knows. he's that obnoxious kid who will agree with everything the teacher says before he even finishes saying it, and then tries to hurry the lecture along with those "yes, yes i know" comments. and i really want to punch him in the face because most of the rest of us don't know, and it's really annoying. plus, if you know so much about the class already then don't bother taking it or sit in the back and spend the time on facebook so the rest of us can actually learn things without your constant interruptions.  

it's kind of weird to think that in about four months i won't be able to complain about students in my classes. that's been quite a big part of this blog from the beginning. plus, i've been a student for pretty much my entire life, and though i'll still technically be considered one after this semester, not having classes to attend will just be really weird. 

in other news, the kindle version of please listen is now available here. for the next 90 days it is exclusively kindle compatible, but after that i may add other ebook formats. if you have a kindle and also have a prime  account with amazon, then you can borrow the book from the lending library and basically read it for free. and then if you like it maybe you could recommend it to others?

*Nobody Likes You - Screeching Weasel

Monday, January 21, 2013

you really did it, yeah

okay people, today is a very important day. (and no i'm not talking about it being martin luther king day, though that's also today and mlk was super cool and everything. this is a much more selfishly important day.) today is the first day that something i've written (or a collection of somethings i've written) is officially available for the public to buy and read in book form. i know, i know you can hardly believe your eyes. i'll give you a moment to go back and reread those last couple of sentences. make sure you notice the part where i say that i have a published book of prosetry on amazon.

now, you might be wondering, well... so what? and to that i say that i have several reasons why you should go and buy please listen (which is the name of the book, in case you were wondering):

[one] the book contains some of my favorite pieces of prosetry that have been seen on this blog. if there was a piece that you particularly liked, then there is a good chance that it has found its way into the book. this way you can carry it around with you and reread it whenever you want. you could bookmark pages and flip back to them without even having to be connected to any network. pretty cool, if i do say so myself. 

[two] the book also contains a bunch of prose poems that have never been seen on this blog. so if you want to see what other "morbid" and "sad" things my mind comes up with, this is the only way to do it. you'll be able to say that you were one of the first people to read these poems, and in a world of hipsters and people who fight to comment "first!" on every social network, this is a pretty big deal. 

[three] you can share it with others. say you know someone whose new year resolution was to read more. you can get them the book, because what can be easier than reading things that rarely go longer than a page?   say you know someone who likes poetry or who reads everything (good or bad) or likes to help out aspiring writers or might like my style? you can get them this book. or maybe someone's birthday is coming up and you don't know what to get them? poetry books are always a good idea. 

[four] it is not very expensive. at only six fifty, please listen is priced not much higher than a cup of coffee, and it lasts a whole lot longer. you can buy it now and keep it around you for those times that you want to read but don't have the time/energy/inclination to get into anything really long. you'll be real happy that you listened to me then, trust me. 

[five] i'll be your best friend and love you forever. and friends are one of those things that you can never have too much of. i will spend three whole days talking about nothing but how very awesome you are. i will recite epic poems in your honor to anyone who will listen and even those that won't. when i become a successfully published author (still working on it) i'll let every interviewer know that you are amazing. i'll tell my grandchildren about the super cool people that bought my first ever prosetry book. 

so have i convinced you yet? are you going to go run out right now and buy a copy of please listen for yourself? and one for your friend/mom/neighbor/guy on the bus? here's where you can find it:

it will be available in e-book version soon, too!

i'd love to hear what you think. amazon/goodreads reviews would also be incredibly appreciated. 

also, thank you to all of you that read this blog, because you all gave me the courage to do this in the first place. 

*You Fuckin' Did It - Jason Mraz

Saturday, January 19, 2013

and for a second there we'd won

i'm that obnoxious person in the class that, when asked how i did on an assignment/test, answers with a, "good" or "i'm happy with it" or "nothing to complain about" instead of the grade that was obviously what the asker of the question wanted. it's not that i want to sound mysterious or anything, but i am always filled with this stupid and irrational guilt when i get higher than the person asking. this has gotten worse in college. people who don't know me tend to assume that i won't do very well in many assignments (because, as i've mentioned on here before, being muslim and arab obviously makes me stupid), and so i tend to end up helping/studying with people who think we're all on the same level. and then they make me feel like i somehow betrayed them when it turns out that i'm actually pretty good at school. plus, it always comes out sounding like i'm bragging, when i'm really not. so i just avoid the whole thing.

having said that, i think the fact that i talked about the quals on here so much and the fact that i'm super relieved slash excited, makes it necessary to say that i got the results for my qualifying exams and managed to pass all four of them. (woohoo!) (and then i had to reply to messages asking how many exams i passed and generally felt like a schmuck.) but from here on out there will be no mention of qualifying exams on this blog. i'm sure you're all very relieved.

moving on.

i am taking a pottery class with my mom on tuesday mornings. i missed the first class because of certain things things that i said i wouldn't mention and didn't realize how soon i'd find a reason to go against my word, but went to last week's class and finally made myself a cookie jar. though super excited with it, i wasn't expecting to finish the whole thing in one class, and now am unsure how to fill up all the other classes. i plan on making the ice cream sandwich box that was posted in the comments on my original cookie jar post, but i doubt that will take very long either. so now i'm faced with the partly exciting and partly overwhelming task with deciding what else i want to make. the other people in the class are like, real potters and have been doing it for years so maybe i'll just copy one of them.

i also started revising my 2011 nanovel. because i don't know how to revise, i was looking at different techniques. one person said to read through the story and write down a sentence about each scene. then you go through the sentences and see which scenes are not needed and what you need to add in for whatever reason. so that's what i'm doing right now. it's kind of exciting.

completely random, but i was looking at songs that were cut out of disney movies this morning and thought i'd share them. a couple of days ago i was also very amused by a site that will translate things into the slang that adds -izzle to everything. my blog translated can be read here. you can translate websites, read the news, or a bunch of other things.

*Miss Atomic Bomb - The Killers

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

our subject isn't cool, but he fakes it anyway

my cousin's daughter has always had this wild misconception that i am cool. now, i'll be the first person to say how awesome i am (sometimes), but i have never been "cool." ever. i am way too practical and way too apathetic and way too antisocial to ever be cool. it is a fact that causes me no sleepless nights, let me assure you, but because of this false image she's created, she thinks that anything i do comes pre-stamped with coolness. (and by coolness, i am obviously referring to having my finger on the pulse of society's fads and always doing whatever thing is popular at the moment and nothing stereotypically nerdy or geeky or whatever. if you know me at all, you know that this is not true. you should also know that i have nothing against liking what no one else likes or liking what everyone likes, as long as you actually like it).

anyway, this summer she fell in love with glee in the way that only a fifteen year old girl that has found her first  obsession can. after catching up on all the episodes and watching/reading everything the internet had to offer on the show and its cast, she found this youtube user who was basically making fanfiction in videos. (and no, not the fan made videos with a story, but actually just typing out scenes and putting them as slideshows.) but each video would only have like three sentences, and, no offense to whoever made it, they were really annoying. while she was gushing about how awesome and creative an idea it was, i mentioned that it was basically fanfiction on youtube. she had never heard of fanfiction, but after a brief description of what it was, promptly fell in love with it.

i am not ashamed to admit that i once spent hours and hours reading fanfiction. (okay, maybe i'm a little ashamed, but just a smidge.) i also spent some time writing fanfiction (even more than people thought i did). and i may have even posted fanfiction online a few times (and here is where that smidge starts to grow). and though fanfiction can be awesomely amazing, i never thought it was "cool." simply because, well... it wasn't, isn't, and probably never will be. (a fact that doesn't detract from its entertainment value in the least.)

but while i know it is uncool, she does not. she has even introduced others to it as if it is the coolest thing since that headphone jack extension that can hold two pairs of headphones. and while i love the fact that spending hours reading this stuff has significantly increased her vocabulary and given her the ability to distinguish between good and bad writing, i still find it hilarious that she thinks it's cool just because i used to do it.

(that was supposed to be a short paragraph leading into what i actually wanted to write, but it grew out of control and now i've forgotten my other point, so... i guess this is a post all about fanfiction.)

*Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) - The Offspring

Friday, January 11, 2013

but i aways said i'd try

after three weeks (i completely made up this number. i honestly have no idea how long it has been since the fall semester ended, but it feels like a lifetime. since i'm pretty sure it has not been a lifetime, i'm going with three weeks), of studying my eyes out for an exam that i ultimately failed because the professor really wants to win the biggest jerk of the year award, and i would hate him for it, but really, what else do tenured computer science professors have to live for? i mean, it's not like people are just lining up to give them awards or appreciation for anything else (probably because a good percentage of them are just not nice people, but that's neither here nor there), and not studying really much at all for three other exams that i actually think i did okay on (lesson learned. i knew i had never really studied before for a reason.) my quals are done and my school-free winter vacation can finally start. well, sort of. we're kind of in the middle of this whole petitioning for the beheading of said professor (or at least getting certain questions on the exam taken out or not graded or bonus pointed or something), and i kind of also have to write up an outline for my independent study class for next semester, and i really should start emailing professors again so i can let them laugh at how little i know and have them tell me all the reasons that they do not in fact want to be on my dissertation committee, but that can all wait until tomorrow. i am declaring this day officially schoolless.

i would fill you in on all of the things that have been happening in my studying and test taking days (like how on that really, really windy day i went to campus for a study group and ended up having to run for my life from a huge piece of plywood that had recently learned to fly and decided to celebrate its new found talent by trying to crush me to death. or that time that i was reading on campus and looked up to glare at the guy that was standing ridiculously close to me and i thought was talking on the phone, but it turned out that it was my professor and he had been talking to me for the last five minutes without apparently noticing that i was reading and not listening to him at all.) but i've told the stories so many times to people in real life that they'd just sound overtold and boring if i tried to write them out here.

i will say, though, that one girl in my study group was shocked to hear that sarah was a common name. she wanted to name her daughter something unique and had been debating between sarah and tara and ultimately went with the latter. when i told her that sarah was probably the most common name in the world, she almost didn't believe me. i mean, every year of grade school (no matter what state or school i was in) i had at least two other sarahs with me. i don't know what kind of world she's been living in.

anyway, i have decided to spend the time waiting for my results in editing. i'm not big on editing my novels (or any creative writing). the only one i ever actually edited at all was sincerely, mr. nobody and i stopped a couple chapters in. but a lot of people have said that editing is the best part of the writing process, and though i don't agree with them at all, if i ever want to be a real writer (which i do!) i may as well learn how to stick to it.

*My List - The Killers